Be familiar with the CPA Exam Structure

For 2023:

The CPA Exam is a computer-based test comprised of four parts (courses). The courses are Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) and Regulation (REG). All courses are compulsory and must be passed to earn the CPA designation.

For 2024 and Beyond:

The CPA Exam is a computer-based test comprising of two modules called core and discipline. The core module contains three compulsory parts (courses), namely: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) and Regulation (REG). The disciple module contains three optional parts (courses), namely: Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR),  Information Systems and Control (ISC) and Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP). Students will choose one of the options. To complete the CPA Exam, a student will do 3 Core Courses + 1 Discipline Course = 4 Courses in total.

For all courses, each exam is structured in five parts, called testlets. All exams contain multiple choice questions (MCQ) and task-based simulations (TBS). The BEC exam has a written component. The courses’ exam may be taken separately, in any order, and in any combination. The AICPA allows this flexibility. A student is allowed 18 months from the date you pass the first course, to pass all remaining parts (courses).

Exam Structure Summarized (2023)

Hours 4 4 4 4
Testlet-1 (MCQ) 36 31 33 38
Testlet-2 (MCQ) 36 31 33 38
Testlet-3 (TBS) 2 2 2 2
Testlet-4 (TBS) 3 2 3 3
Testlet-5 (TBS) 3 3 Written 3 3
Score Weight MCQs 50% 50% 50% 50%
Score Weight TBSs 50% 35% & 15% 50% 50%
Skills Level Assessed
Remembering and Understanding 25-35% 15-25% 10-20% 25-35%
Application 30-40% 50-60%* 50-60% 35-45%
Analysis 20-30% 20-30% 25-35% 25-35%
Evaluation 5-15%

* Includes written communication

Exam Structure Summarized (2024 and Beyond)

Hours 4 4 4 4 4 4
Testlet-1 (MCQ) 39 25 36 25 41 34
Testlet-2 (MCQ) 39 25 36 25 41 34
Testlet-3 (TBS) 2 2 2 2 2 2
Testlet-4 (TBS) 2 2 3 2 2 2
Testlet-5 (TBS) 3 3 3 3 2 3
Score Weight (MCQ) 50% 50% 50% 50% 60% 50%
Score Weight (TBS) 50% 50% 50% 50% 40% 50%
Skills Level Assessed
Remembering and Understanding 30-40% 5-15% 25-35% 10-20% 55-65% 5-15%
Application 30-40% 45-55% 35-45% 45-55% 20-30% 55-65%
Analysis 15-25% 35-45% 25-35% 30-40% 10-20% 25-35%
Evaluation 5-15%

The first two testlets contain multiple choice questions. Generally, these are short version questions with four possible answers and comprise approximately 50% of the exam.

Task-based simulations are case studies that allow candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and skills by generating responses to questions rather than simply selecting an answer. They typically require candidates to use spreadsheets and/or research authoritative literature provided in the examination.

These questions appear only in the Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) exam, which require a candidate’s response in either memo or letter format (usually as a CPA giving advice) based on the topic in the question.

Skills Assessment Summary

Skills Level  
Evaluation The examination or assessment of problems, and use of judgment to draw conclusions.
Analysis The examination and study of the interrelationships of separate areas in order to identify causes and find evidence to support inferences.
Application The use or demonstration of knowledge, concepts or techniques.
Remembering and Understanding The perception and comprehension of the significance of an area utilizing knowledge gained.

More information including questions and answers about the exam structure can be access from the AICPA website at

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